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Happiness

We all desire happiness, but how are we to gain it? What constitutes happiness? Many people seem to think it consists of an abundance of this world's goods, more especially money; but that that does not always bring happiness we can see by looking around us; and indeed, many who think they would be happier if they were more wealthy than they are now, would soon find out their mistake if they had their desire. Those who are discontented with what they have would still be the same if their riches were increased tenfold, because happiness is a state and is not conditional upon circumstances. How then are we to gain happiness? By contentment; that is the gate which leads to happiness. I daresay to many that sounds more difficult to obtain than happiness itself; and that is because so many of us are apt to think that if we could only get certain things we have set our hearts on, we should then be happy; but that is a mistake. Happiness, to be lasting, can be reached no other way than by contentment, and happiness that is not permanent is not worthy of the name; so we have to learn first to be contented, and it requires learning, but without thought of the matter many people really cultivate discontent. Does that sound harsh and unkind? I fear it is only too true. How many of us grumble at the weather, our insufficient means, our lack of opportunities, our position in life, the way our friends treat us, etc., etc. These may seem but small matters, but "straws show which way the wind blows," and though we do not think of it, there can be no happiness for one who indulges in a grumbling spirit, or for one who is too prone to think himself ill-treated. If then we really desire to be happy (and I suppose we all do) we must cultivate the spirit of contentment, must not be easily provoked, must not expect too much from others, and must check ourselves every time we find we are complaining of anything. Nothing will come to harm us, or trouble us, unless we have deserved it; if we wish for the good opinion of others, all we have to do is to take heed to our ways, and consider our thoughts, and walk circumspectly, and we shall soon find out that we are appreciated just in proportion to our deserts; and that the only talisman required to open the door of happiness is goodness. Obedience, purity, and contentment are necessary ingredients of character if we would enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and there surely we shall find happiness; but the grumbler cannot enter.

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